President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has met with the Roman Catholic Cardinal with oversight on Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Turkson at her Foreign Ministry office.
Cardinal Turkson was accompanied to the meeting with the Liberian President by Apostolic Nuncio to Liberia, Archbishop Miroslaw Adamczyk; Bishop Andrew Karnley of the Diocese of Cape Palmas; Monsigner Robert Vicillo of Caritas International; Rev. Fr. Patrick Kabbah and Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods of the Catholic Ebola Taskforce.
He's the most senior Vatican official to meet with President Johnson Sirleaf in recent time. His visit comes as Liberia holds senatorial election in about 24 hours.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf welcomed Cardinal Turkson to Liberia and indicated that the best way to demonstrate friendship is to be there in times of need. She extended Liberia's appreciation to Pope Francis and Cardinal Turkson for considering Liberia for a visit during this critical period.
The Liberian leader extended personal regards to Pope Francis and told Cardinal Turkson that memories of her last visit to the Vatican still remain with her and all members of her delegation due to the humility of the Pope.
“Pope Francis was humble and gracious enough to have met and personally greeted all members of the delegation with a photograph. My delegation was pleased with this and it lives with them for the rest of their lives,” she said.
President Sirleaf welcomed the decision of the Catholic Church to re-open the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital in Monrovia and reflected on the many sacrifices made by the Church through the hospital for the people of Liberia. “Your interventions are always aligned with the priorities of the country's rebuilding agenda,” she noted.
In response, Cardinal Turkson expressed joy for being able to visit Liberia at such crucial time and briefed President Sirleaf about his responsibilities as a Cardinal with oversight on Justice and Peace issues.
He reflected on the visit of President Sirleaf to the Vatican and informed her that Pope Francis has been following the Ebola situation in Liberia and other parts of West Africa with keen interest.
Cardinal Turkson informed the Liberian leader that the Vatican has developed a small action plan to assist with the Ebola crisis focused mainly on the post-Ebola era. “We have a small plan that is built on five pillars: Education, Care for Orphans, Support Healthcare, Psychosocial Support and Pastoral Approach to Burial Practices,” the Catholic Cardinal pointed out.
He thanked President Sirleaf and the Liberian Government for remaining focused during the Ebola crisis and for the tremendous success in containing the further spread of the disease.
Cardinal Turkson, a native of Ghana, left the Vatican on Sunday. He has also visited Sierra Leone on his current tour of the region. He departs Liberia for Ghana on Friday, December 19, 2014.